McLaren 675LT video review - Lighter, faster, more focused and more fun
The best Super Series car McLaren has built; feels as quick as a P1
The 675LT is the pinnacle of McLaren’s Super Series and the big brother to the 650S. It's the McLaren we’ve been waiting for the company to build since it entered the market. Lighter, more powerful, more focused and more fun, the new 675LT is the result of McLaren’s engineers putting the 650S back through what it calls the “the loop” to improve on every area it felt needed attention.
While the original 12C and the current 650S have impressed in terms of outright performance, they have yet to tug at the heartstrings of the enthusiast, trading on raw speed at the cost of driver involvement, excitement and entertainment. In the 675LT McLaren intends to address these issues head on.
Engine, transmission and 0-60mph time
More than 50 percent of the components used in the McLaren M838 TL twin-turbo charged V8 engine in the 675 have been replaced or updated, many coming from the P1. There are new connecting rods and camshafts, new turbos that are unique to the 675, despite being the same size as those fitted to other Super Series cars.
The turbo’s waste gates are also electric rather than pneumatic, and feature machined-from-solid compressor wheels, rather than cast items, to maximise air-flow into the compression chamber and deliver cooler air for improved efficiency and more power. There is also a new high power fuel pump and a titanium exhaust that features a unique-cross-over silencer to maximise the exhaust length, improve torque output and, of course, the sound. It all combines to increase power to 666bhp and torque to 516lb ft.
The seven-speed gearbox has new software to maximise the engine’s new performance output and there’s also the latest version of the company’s Inertia Push technology that, when in Track mode, harness the built up kinetic energy to deliver a wave of torque when the next gear is engaged.
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The powertrain also accounts for 10 percent (10kg) of the 675’s weight loss, the exhaust alone saving 1.1kg. And in order to increase airflow into the side mounted radiators the turbulent air that exits from the wheel arches is directed into larger air-intakes ahead of the rear wheels, within the intakes the radiators, which are the same size as those in a 650S, have been tuned through four-degrees to increase efficiency.
All up, the 675LT will sprint to a claimed 62mph in just 2.9-secs, 124mph in 7.9-secs and onto a 205mph maximum speed.
Where to start with 675LT? The body seems as good as place as any. From the B-pillar back it’s all new and it’s all made from carbon fibre: the side skirts, the side air intakes, the rear body lower panel, arches, deck, bumper and diffuser, and the new Longtail airbrake (which is 50 percent larger). There is also a new front bumper that includes a larger front splitter (with an 80 percent larger surface area than the 650S) with F1 style end-plates, and the front under body is also new.
Beneath the body the 675 has borrowed from the P1 parts bin and utilises its suspension uprights and wishbones. The springs are both lighter and stiffer, 27 percent at the front, 63 percent at the rear, the track is 20mm wider and the front end is 20mm lower.
Overall, McLaren has shaved 100kg from the 650S dry weight, with the new carbon body parts saving 35kg alone. The windscreen is 1mm thinner providing a 3kg saving, the rear bulkhead glass 0.5mm thinner, saving a further 500gram. Each wheel is also 800gram lighter. The P1 carbon-fibre seats save 15kg, covering the interior in Alcantara saves a further 3.5kg versus leather. The attention to detail is on a par with Porsche RS and Ferrari Speciale models. The result of this is that the 675LT tips the scales at 1230kg. Downforce has also increased by 40 percent.
What’s it like?
Pretty much like no other Super Series McLaren that has gone before. The thinner glass, titanium exhaust and pared back cabin with its exposed carbon floor make this the first great sounding McLaren. But you only notice that once you’ve got over how good it looks. Okay, so the Longtail name may be stretching the connection to McLaren’s glorious past, but the more purposeful rear end treatment provides the attitude that’s been missing from other Super Series models; those two protruding rear pipes will have 12C and 650S owners crying into their car’s standard oval shaped exhaust tips.
The 675LT is all about driving though. The engine is mighty and so tractable. You squeeze the throttle waiting for a fury of wheelspin and ESC controlled nannying to tame the rear Pirelli Trofeo R tyres, but the 675LT just hooks up and goes. The revs rise relentlessly as you gather speed at a frightening pace and in the 675LT the ratios snick home quicker than it takes you to pull back on the right hand slither of carbon fibre that controls the gearbox. And that’s in Normal mode, switch the powertrain mode to Sport or Track and the shifts become sharper still. On roads where you should really know better you can get yourself into seriously big speeds.
The chassis is equally as captivating. The magic carpet ride people bang on about with the 12C and 650S is still there, but it’s not at low speed where it excels, it’s when you’re enjoying that mighty V8 and when you need exemplary body control, first rate damping and ultimate adjustability is where the 675LT comes alive. The 675 doesn’t so much as glide across the surface as flatten it into submission. The nose gets into the apex as quick as your brain can process without the nervousness you get with other cars with super quick steering, the mid-corner balance inspires such confidence that you feel intertwined the car’s carbon tub. It all allows for truly sensational corner exit speeds and those big speeds down the straights.
The steering, while still feeling artificial at times, has real character and genuine weight you can work with as you feed it into a corner. Under heavy braking, when the air brake fills the rear view mirror, the steering wheel can be become very active in your hands as the brake steer interacts, but once you adapt your style to work with it the 675LT’s agility becomes all-consuming, drawing you in and urging you to ask more from it – and you - at every opportunity. It’s a McLaren that has genuine personality and a hard-edged attitude that it’s all the better for.
Two rivals stand out for McLaren’s 675LT: Porsche’s new 991 GT3 RS and the now soundly departed Ferrari 458 Speciale. What the Porsche gives away in horsepower (it’s over 150bhp down on the turbocharged McLaren) and price (circa £100k cheaper) it makes up for with 40 years of RS pedigree, and unquestionable ability.
The last of Ferrari’s glorious 458 Speciale may have left the factory but it still lives in our heart and minds, and for the money is one of the greatest cars of our time. It probably has the edge over the McLaren for ultimate thrills and those visceral sensations only Ferrari seem to be able to elicit, but truth be told any of these three super cars would serve you beyond your wildest expectations.
The McLaren 675LT will cost your £259,500 before you get creative with the options. Or rather it would, had McLaren not sold every one of the 500 it will it build.